Robert Hassell and Israel Pineda both went deep to help build a 6-4 lead for the Scorpions after seven. Alas, the two-run lead was too small for Holden Powell to hold as the Rafters paddled him for three runs in the 9th and a 7-6 win.
Hassell, who also walked, doubled, scored two, and drove in two, started in right field and batted ninth. He had two putouts on defense
Pineda matched Hassell’s 2-for-3 with two RBIs but scored only once. Pineda hit a sacrifice fly while batting third and caught the game. Salt River tried to steal on him three times and failed thrice.
Trey Lipscomb made another appearance at first base and was the “3” on seven groundouts. At the plate, he went 1-for-4 but remains on the interstate at .182 (6-for-33).
Orland Ribalta made his fourth appearance and stranded two runners in the 6th when Pineda threw out Caleb Roberts to end the inninge. The 25-y.o. then cordero’d around a walk and a single with one out to escape the jam.
Powell struck out the first and last batter of the 9th. In between, Salt River drew a walk, hit a single, then, after a two-out popout, took the Nats’ 2020 3rd Rd. pick deep for a three-run blast that would earn him the blown-save-loss.
Scottsdale (7-5-1) hosts Mesa (4-9) tonight. Assuming he’s not hurt (pause for laughter), DJ Herz would seem likely to make his third start.
2023 FCL Nationals
Three years in to “The New World Order” and it looks like we’re approaching what may be the new normal. In 2021, Draft Picks were in witness protection until late August. In 2022, it was the second week of August. Last summer, it was the last week of July. Given that the signing deadline was July 25, it’s probably safe to presume it won’t be any earlier.
As semi-predicted, the new normal now seems to be using the FCL in the early going to evaluate the kids from the D.R. and the youngest draft picks from the previous season. Almost everyone older than 22 who played was doing so as a rehab, not repeating the level.
Unlike 2022 though, the 2023 edition was never in contention, hovering just below .500 which is where they finished (24-25) despite having the second-oldest batters (20.2 vs. 19.4) and slightly older-than-average pitchers (21.0 vs. 20.8), though the latter is almost always true given Washington’s inability to keep its pitchers healthy.
Offensively, the team was as you’d expect for its age: above average (6.02 vs. 5.64) but the pitching was not (6.39, third-worst in the league). Defensively, it was slightly below average (.956FA vs. .960) and curiously the F-Nats allowed the fewest stolen bases despite more opportunities to steal.
And as we always do, we close out the review with the obligatory Top 5’s:
|TOP 5 BATS||TOP 5 ARMS|
|1. Cristhian Vaquero, CF
.283 GPA, .410 OBP, 15SB in 42G
|1. Jefrem Leon, RHSP
5.58/4.44/1.50, 10.27 K/9IP in 30⅔ IP
|2. Jorgelys Mota, 3B
.294 GPA, .459 SLG% in 98PA
|2. Gabriel Agostini, LHSP
4.53/5.12/1.26, 7.83 K/9IP in 43⅔ IP
|3. Everett Cooper, 2B
.307 GPA, 2XBH in 28G
|3. Cristian Jimenez, RHRP
5.12/5.14/1.34, 9.3 K/9IP, 2.8 BB/9IP in 19⅓ IP
|4. Nathan Ochoa Leyva, 1B
.258 GPA, .371 OBP in 107PA
|4. Moises Diaz, RHRP
2.89/3.95/1.12, 1.9 BB/9IP in 18⅔ IP
|5. Juan Garcia, 3B
.278 GPA, .412 OBP in 15G
|5. Josue Carmona, LHRP
5.73/4.41/2.36, 11.45 K/9IP, 8.2 BB/9IP in 11IP
Just like a year ago, the sample sizes here are very small. Just 10 batters appeared in more than 20 games; only four had more than a 100PA. Likewise, only six pitchers had more than 20IP (and five of those were starters) and thirteen had more than 10IP.